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Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow delivers 2018 State of the City Address

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow delivered his 2018 State of the City Address before a crowded room of City Councilors, County Legislators and members of the public outlining the progress made by his administration since taking office in 2016 and announced several new initiatives, proposals, projects and goals included in his agenda for 2018.

During a fifty-minute speech, Mayor Barlow touted the transformation and progress made by the City of Oswego over the last two years including major investments made to municipal buildings, enhancements made to various City parks, improved City services, dramatic reductions in government spending, cuts to City department overtime, secured $18 million total in grant funding and highlighted the major accomplishments made by the department of code enforcement throughout Oswego neighborhoods.  

“In two years we’ve made dramatic and undeniable progress.  City government today operates on $2 million less than it did the day I took office.  We’ve cut City overtime by 30% from $1,228,000 in 2015 to $857,000 in 2018, secured nearly $18 million overall in grant funding, increased documented code enforcement violations by 333% compared to 2015, paved over $1.5 million in City roads, overhauled our City rental assistance HUD housing program and implemented new, innovative ideas to improve City services while making our local government more efficient and effective”, said Mayor Barlow.  “I guarantee we will continue working hard, improving services, producing results and acting on your priorities for these next two years just as we have for the last two years.  That is my pledge and continued commitment to this community each and every day," Barlow continued. 

Building on the current momentum, Mayor Barlow set forth a bold agenda for 2018 including the completion of two major planning projects funded through the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative, five public space enhancements projects in different areas of the City, continuing to strengthen the code enforcement efforts and crackdown on City landlords, a strategy to combat poverty in the community and other announcements involving the Oswego Lighthouse, increasing tourism and partnering with the major employers in the area to capture employees who currently do not live locally. 

“We are in a state of progress, resurgence and revival. We must seize the opportunity, keep pushing forward and capitalize on the improvements we have made.  We are going to have a very busy and a very productive 2018 as we build off the successes we've already shared together and we must keep working hard, continue working together and ensure we do not slip into the same complacency, inaction, political gridlock and lack of political will power that held our community back for so long," Barlow said.  “Our recent successes helped to change the identity and the direction we are moving as a community. We used to be a community in complete free fall but we are now on the rise and must pivot from being a community simply trying to survive in 2015 to maintaining our recent resurgence and capitalize on our revival in 2018.  It’s time to highlight who and what we are as a community in an effort to attract the residents, businesses and success we want," the Mayor continued.  “My goals for 2018 will allow us to improve our neighborhoods, capitalize on our assets, assist our small businesses and better position our City to become a community attractive to the working class families and young professionals employed by our local major employers”, Barlow continued.  “Capturing these employees will result in a huge advancement for our community," Barlow concluded. 

Highlights of Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow’s 2018 State of the City Address include:

 

Building on Momentum

- First glimpse and start of construction for two DRI planning projects in Downtown Oswego

- 5 proposed public space enhancement projects involving the State Route 104 “Forks in the Road” Five-Point Intersection, State Route 104 East gateway beautification project, transforming the Fort Ontario tunnel entryway, improvements to the Oswego Harbor Trail along Lake Ontario and the start of the West Seneca Street Bikeway project.   

- Announcement of $75,000 from the City of Oswego LWRP funding to go to the Oswego Lighthouse renovation and restoration project

- Announcement regarding the opening of the City of Oswego Dog Park in May

Code Enforcement – A Key to Success

- Proposed funding for an additional code enforcement officer

- Proposed legislation allowing the City of Oswego to cite a blighted, non-code complaint property, hire a contractor to repair the home to code compliance and bill the property owner accordingly and administer an additional charge. The money spent on repairing the home, together with fines and surcharges will be applied to the property owners tax bill.  The fines and chargers will allow this program to become self sufficient and act as a revolving loan repair fund program at no recurring expense to Oswego taxpayers. 

- Announcement pertaining to “nuisance” code violations.  “Nuisance” violations will be prioritized, prosecuted and the prosecution process will be expedited to get violators into City Court quickly.  

- Proposed extension of the Home Improvement Residential Tax Exemption set to expire in April

LIFT our neighbors and Combat Poverty

(Allocation announcement for $400,000 Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative Grant)

- $162,000 to Oswego County Opportunities to create a “community hub” of service providers for low-income residents to easily access comprehensive services and supports.  This money will be used for OCO to employ an employment and retention specialist and recruit volunteer peer specialists to work with community partners to facilitate individual and group job readiness sessions.

- $101,000 to Salvation Army “Pathway to Hope” Program to assist twenty-five families in the City of Oswego and help these families overcome barriers such as unemployment and unstable housing.

- $55,000 to the Council on Alcoholism and Addictions in partnership with Farnham Family Services, to provide peer advocate services in the City of Oswego.  Two hired peer advocates will become more accessible due to this funding and will directly provide identified individuals with a connection to substance abuse treatment, physical health services, mental health services.

- $27,000 to Oswego Health towards a transportation initiative to assist low income employees with reliable travel to and from work.

- $26,000 program administered by Victory Transformation to improve the employability of disadvantaged groups like those who have limited work histories, personal or situational barriers, suffer from drug addictions or have mental health disabilities.

- $22,000 to the Literacy Coalition of Oswego County to encourage home reading and improve reading skills for Kindergarten through Fifth Graders.

Promoting our Hometown

- Announcement launching the Resident Recruitment Initiative - A partnership between major employers in and around the Oswego area and the City of Oswego providing new employees to these entities a comprehensive introduction and guide to the Oswego community upon their hiring and orientation.

The 2018 State of the City Address was Mayor Billy Barlow’s third State of the City Address as he begins his third year in office after taking office in January 2016.  Mayor Barlow is currently the youngest Mayor in New York State at twenty-seven years old and the youngest Mayor in the history of the City of Oswego.  He runs for re-election in 2019. 

The City of Oswego has a population of approximately 18,000 residents and is the largest municipality in Oswego County.  City of Oswego Common Council meetings are held on the second and fourth Monday’s of each month at 7:30pm at Oswego City Hall, 13 West Oneida Street in Oswego. 

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